A Pox on the Patriarchy
I have been reflecting on why I have reacted so strongly to today’s Guardian article which classified the “TERF wars” as a tit for tat squabble. I covered in this post briefly the sexist implications of such a classification. But the article’s sexism did not fully explain the visceral gut-wrenching reaction I had to it. Having considered it for a bit longer, I think I have hit on why it upset me so much. It upset me because it feels too much like victim-blaming, because it completely ignores the real and actual abuse visited upon non-compliant women who refuse to identify with their own oppression (see this post I have just put up for some horrifying examples, although, massive caution note). It reminds me too horribly of the thousands of people who kept repeatedly, relentlessly, cruely telling me I was feeding the trolls, ie, causing my abuse, when I was being driven to not eating, not sleeping, not being able to work, crying all the time, in genuine fear for my life, by abusive men who would NOT let up sending me viciously detailed and graphic rape and death threats that I can still quote word for word today.
It was NOT my fault. NONE of it was my fucking fault. I have a right to say “I am being abused and it is not ok”. I have a right to tell the world what is happening to me, what is being said. I have a right to ask that I not be forced to shoulder this burden entirely on my own. I have a right to fight back against the accusations that I was a delicate little girl-flower – accusations that came about AS A DIRECT RESULT of not being allowed to repeat what was actually being said to me, for fear of offending people listening to the radio and reading the paper. I had to shelter them in a way I was not sheltered, and there was a price I had to pay for that.
My emotions are not the problem. My fear, my horror, my anger at being so treated, at being threatened for demanding, yes demanding, as every woman should, not ask nicely, my right to a voice. The problem is the abuse. The blame lies with the abuser. I will not accept responsibility for my abuse. I will not shoulder an iota of the blame. I can’t, I won’t, and shame on anyone who asks me to.